|Rained all week - cold and overcast then along comes the weekend and the weather is just beautiful! One of the lessons we have learnt in Tasmania is that when the sun shines you take advantage of it so that is what we did. We jumped in the car and drove north along the east coast for about an hour until we reached the town of Triabunna. Here we caught a ferry taking us over to Maria Island (about 45 minutes) where were dropped off with a couple of hire bikes. Maria Island is yet another place that was originally set up as a convict settlement but after seven years they decided to close it down and built Port Arthur instead as the convicts kept escaping. It is a beautiful island and apparantly it was known among the convicts as THE place to be sent to. It definitely has a very different feel to Sarah Island (on the West coast of Tasmania)and to Port Arthur. After the convict settlement was closed down an italian entrepreneur decided it would be the perfect place to set up a vinyard and for silk production. He pulled down a few of the convict buildings and used the bricks to build cottages to house his workers. A cement works was also set up on the island and at one point it was quite a thriving community with hundreds of residents but after a few set backs (including the Great Depression) these all failed and for the next 40 years the island was farmed by a few remaining families. In 1972 the whole island was declared a National Park and all remaining residents had to relocate to the mainland. Once on the island we jumped aboard our bikes and after a few wobbles headed off to find the Painted Cliffs. The scenery was just beautiful and whilst I kept stopping to take it all in and snap a photo or two, the last I saw of Ken was him whizzing down the road with a cry of "Wheeeeeee!!"